Recognise non-grads – Tan Cheng Bock urged in 1989

In recent weeks, the Government has urged Singaporeans to consider alternative paths to success in their careers, and that a university degree was not the only route to a rewarding career.

To encourage what it said was a “cultural shift” needed for this change of mindset, the Government says it will be doing more to support the aspirations of non-graduates, with the public sector taking the lead.

The Public Service Division announced changes to its employment and career policies on Wednesday, giving non-graduates a boost to their career paths and salaries. (See here.)

But recognising non-graduates is not a new idea.

In fact, as far back as 1989, Members of Parliament – and even ministers – had urged the same.

For example, in July 1989, the MP for Ayer Rajah, Tan Cheng Bock urged the Government to “lead the way to show that a polytechnic diploma holder is as valued in the workforce as a university graduate.”

Dr Tan, who later ran for president of Singapore in 2011, was then the chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee on Education.

The Business Times reported him thus:



While there seems to be an impetus now from the Government to do what Dr Tan suggested in 1989, do you think that this “cultural shift” in mindset will take a very long time to entrench?